aka Sight Savers America   |   Pelham, AL   |


Mission Statement: To identify and secure treatment for unmet vision and health needs.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Jeffery Haddox

Main address

337 Business Circle

Pelham, AL 35124 USA

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Formerly known as

Sight Savers of Alabama



NTEE code info

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Data show that approximately 20% of children vision screened in schools will fail the screening. Unfortunately, only about 30% of children failing a vision screening actually receive the necessary eye care. As a result, many children are ill equipped to succeed academically and developmentally. For children with severe visual disabilities, the high cost of assistive technology prevents families from accessing the devices necessary for daily functioning. Low vision is not correctable via eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery, which makes high-tech vision aids essential for children struggling with low vision. Furthermore, children across Alabama face serious health disparities related to poverty and lack of access to healthcare. SSA's programs aim to address these needs through proactive identification and thorough treatment of health issues.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Eye Care Program

Sight Savers America;s Eye Care Program provides comprehensive eye care follow-up statewide in Alabama and Mississippi as well as cities/communities in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Children failing a vision screening or otherwise in need of eye care are referred to SSA via various organizations and individuals. Our thorough case management protocol ensures that each child achieves his or her best vision at the earliest age possible, and also establishes a permanent home for eye care in his or her community. Our extensive network of over 1,200 eye care professionals assists in providing comprehensive eye exams, eye glasses, medications or surgeries to our children, at no cost to eligible families. For children with more serious eye conditions such as amblyopia, early treatment can prevent permanent vision loss in the affected eye. More than 50,000 children are referred to this program annually.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with vision impairments

SSA's Low Vision Program focuses on helping children who have a disabling loss of vision. Low vision is not correctable with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery and afflicts approximately 1 of every 1,000 children of every race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Children with low vision are often unable to perform daily activities that most people take for granted, such as reading, writing, or even recognizing their loved ones’ faces. This creates a drastic disadvantage at home and in the classroom, where they often experience poor academic performance and classroom participation. Many parents report that they spend up to two hours a night helping their visually impaired child with reading and other homework assignments.

The correct vision aid can combat these disadvantages and dramatically increase a child’s self-sufficiency and functional abilities. In turn, this inspires and empowers him or her to function independently and advance academically at the earliest possible age. This is especially impactful for reading, writing, and completing homework assignments, allowing children to stay on grade level in spite of their visual impairments. Unfortunately, high-tech vision aids such as Electronic Video Magnifiers (EVMs) are costly (EVMs average $2,595 per unit), and are not covered by insurance, making them out of reach for most families outside of this program.

To meet this need, SSA's Low Vision Program collaborates with partners across the US to identify children with this need and provide all recommended vision aids. Through our in-depth case management protocol, SSA Case Specialists identify children in need and arrange for in-depth low vision evaluations for children in need of one to determine the recommended equipment. Upon the recommendation of a low vision expert, SSA then purchases the necessary equipment through grant funding, and coordinates an EVM delivery and training clinic. At a clinic, SSA trains each child and guardian individually on their new equipment, which is theirs to keep forever.

The immediate impact of the program is that children have the tools necessary to see the world clearly for the first time, and are able to perform daily activities independently as they were unable to before. In fact, many children are able to see their parents' faces clearly for the first time at an SSA low vision clinic, which inspired the original name for the program. In the long-term, by providing these children with the means to maximize their remaining vision, we can empower them to overcome their disabilities and pursue their educations and healthy development through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. This cost effective solution includes ongoing support from SSA staff over the life of the equipment, and is a permanent investment in a child's life based on the long-term impact of an EVM.

Since our inception, SSA has placed over 3,000 Electronic Video Magnifiers (EVMs) and other vision aids into the homes of children and individuals with severe visual impairments. This program operates in 15 states (AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IL, LA, MS, NC, OH, SC, TN, and TX), and provides equipment/services at no cost to needy families.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children and youth

Sight Savers America’s Children’s Vision Screening Program currently provides free school-based vision screenings in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas using a Plusoptix vision screener, a state-of-the-art optometric device. The Plusoptix provides full refraction data and screens for abnormalities commonly missed by a traditional eye chart screening. SSA staff analyze each child’s screening data and provide detailed screening reports to school nurses and parents. Outcomes demonstrate 23% of children vision screened need a comprehensive, dilated eye exam. These children are referred to Sight Savers America’s Eye Care Program for comprehensive, case-managed eye care services. Approximately 23,000 children are screened by this program annually.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with vision impairments

SSA's Health Screening program provides comprehensive school-based health screenings to Pre-K – 12th grade Alabama children. Screenings take place in underserved parts of rural and urban Alabama, where the average participating school has a free and reduced lunch rate of 75 percent. Screenings provided include: height & weight with BMI, dental, vital signs, chest & abdomen examination, vision, scoliosis, skin & musculoskeletal, hearing, and eyes/ears/ nose/throat examinations. Each year, approximately 25,000 children receive these vital screenings to identify potential health issues early on.

We partner with 20 two and four-year Alabama nursing schools, along with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Optometry, and their Physician Assistants Program. This program is a unique service learning opportunity for over 2,500 college students each year who provide over 20,000 volunteer hours to the program and receive valuable clinical hours and practical experience under faculty supervision. In this way, the program is a win/win for our school children, our future health care workforce, our colleges and universities, and the community as a whole.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Community Health Care Crystal Award 2007

Johnson & Johnson

Rural Volunteer Excellence in Service Award 2007

Alabama Rural Health Association

Visionary Award 2008

EyeSight Foundation of Alabama

"Who Would You Thank" Customer Appreciation Award 2008

Wachovia Bank

Distinguished Service Award 2012

American Optometric Association

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SSA's overall goal is to provide children in need of eye care, low vision services, and health/vision screenings with the resources needed to address vision and health needs. Through our Eye Care Program, we aim to ensure that over 75% of children referred to SSA achieve their best possible vision. Through our Low Vision Program, our goal is to eradicate the backlog of children in need of high-tech vision aids, such as Electronic Video Magnifiers, within our service area. (Once this goal is met, we then transition to the program's maintenance phase, which serves a smaller number of children who age into the program, move into the area, or develop new or worsening eye conditions.) The goal of our Vision and Health Screening Programs is to identify health/vision needs in the neediest areas of our state (and select communities outside of Alabama), while also securing the necessary follow-up treatments.

SSA operates four programs that fulfill its mission and consistently meet organizational goals: the Eye Care Program, Low Vision Program, Vision Screening Program, and Health Screening Program. These programs proactively identify vision and health problems and then work with each child individually to ensure that he or she actually receives the necessary follow-up care. The Eye Care Program provides comprehensive follow-up eye care for children failing a vision screening to ensure that children actually receive all recommended treatments after a failed vision screening. Personal case management of eye care is the program's main strategy for success, as SSA Case Specialists build a relationship with each child's family, and work to establish a eye care home for each child referred. The Low Vision Program is making great strides serving the needs of children with severe visual impairment in 13 states by providing high-tech vision aids, such as Electronic Video Magnifiers, that are life-changing for a severely visually impaired child. In many areas where we serve, we have successfully met our goal of eliminating the backlog of children with this need and have transitioned to the program's maintenance phase. Strategies for accomplishing this include aggressive fundraising, numerous community partnerships across the US, and a thorough case management process. The Vision Screening Program uses a state-of-the-art Plusoptix vision screening device to quickly and effectively identify vision issues. This device captures refraction data in less than one second, and screens for many issues not detected by a traditional eye chart screening. Additionally, the Health Screening Program serves the state of Alabama by providing head-to-toe health screenings for children in underserved urban and rural areas of our state. This program strategically leverages volunteer support from local nursing schools to administer health screenings and provide early detection of critical health issues in a cost-efficient manner.

Sight Savers America celebrated its 20th year of providing eye care services for needy children in 2017. SSA is the only organization that proactively provides these comprehensive follow-up eye care services on a large, multi-state scale. SSA operates with an active Board of Trustees and a staff of 38, including trained Case Specialists that follow a detailed case management protocol from start to finish. Program activities and results are tracked using a custom CRM database that traces each child since SSA's inception. This unique case management protocol ensures that every child within our service area has the opportunity to receive the eye care necessary to succeed in school and in life, putting an end to the cycle of neglected eye care among children within our service area.

SSA was awarded the American Optometric Association's “Distinguished Service Award" for outstanding service and dedication to the visual welfare of the public and for contributions to the advancement of vision rehabilitation care, the most prestigious national award for vision rehabilitation. The “Robert Sherrill Quality Award" was also presented to Jeff Haddox, Founder, by the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, recognizing him as a healthcare leader in the state. Johnson & Johnson also awarded SSA its National “Community Health Care Crystal Award" for community service in recognition of unique and innovative solutions to complicated children's health care challenges.

Over the course of 20 years, Sight Savers America has created a roadmap in children's eye care unlike any other in existence today, and has reached over 600,000 children through its Eye Care Program alone. Through SSA's efficient case management system, results show that over 85% of children referred to our programs achieve their best possible vision. Furthermore, the Low Vision Program has successfully eliminated the need for high-tech vision aids for children in many areas and communities where the program serves. This includes the entire state of Alabama, the large majority of Mississippi and Louisiana, the San Antonio Metro area, and the 10 Texas Hill Country counties, where we have served all children with this specific need. SSA's Health Screening Program is often the only head-to-toe health screening that many Alabama children receive in a given here. Through this program, SSA has identified thousands of unmet health issues that could have developed into serious and even life-threatening conditions.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Board of directors
as of 06/02/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Stancil Handley

Optometrist; Mayor of Columbiana, AL

Term: 2019 -

Bill Burrus

Burrus & Associates

Stancil Handley

Handley Optometry

Kerry Stein

Vice President, KGS Steel Company

Frances Ford

Perry County Health Care Coordinator

Holly Lollar, APR

The Lollar Group

Dr. Sarah Hays

VisionFirst Eye Center

Dr. Dawn DeCarlo

UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation

Judy Mayo

District Nurse, Fredericksburg Independent School District

Mateo Forero

Attorney, Balch & Bingham LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/2/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/02/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.